No Compromise

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The LA Times has a front page story today about Ann Quinn, an ordinary Pennsylvania wife and mother who’s tired of all the fighting in Washington DC. It’s fine, really. But since my blogger’s license would be revoked if I didn’t kvetch about something, there were a couple of things in the piece that bugged me. First, we’re told that only 23% of voters describe themselves as “angry”:

As for the rest, many of them are not terribly partisan, though they may lean toward one party over the other. Immigration, earmarks, same-sex marriage, those things that exercise activists, are of little interest. Mainly what they want is for lawmakers to stop bickering and address the problems they deal with on a daily basis, “putting food on the table, gas in their car and … getting the kids through college,” said Democratic pollster Margie Omero.

Once and for all, no, it’s not right to say that “as for the rest, many of them are not terribly partisan.” Leaners, as any first year political science student can tell you, tend to be just as partisan as people who actually identify themselves as partisan. Probably no more than 10% of the country is genuinely unpredictable in their voting habits. I wish we could all get this straight. Then there’s this about Ann and her husband, John:

In 15 years of marriage they have never agreed on anything political. When she put a John Kerry sign on the lawn in 2004, he ran out and got a George W. Bush sign to plant right next to it. But when it comes to the important things — Patrick, improvements to their two-story Dutch colonial house, which car to buy — they put their differences aside and did what needed to be done. If they can figure out how to make it work, why can’t Washington?

Eh. If Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner only needed to agree on a maintenance schedule for the Capitol Dome or how big the House motor pool needed to be, they’d get along fine too. But Ann Quinn and her husband, in 15 years of marriage, still don’t agree on anything political even though they love each other and live a wonderful life together. Shouldn’t that tell us something? If 200 Anns and 200 Johns had to decide whether to raise taxes, they wouldn’t do any better at it than Pelosi and Boehner.

Kvetching over. Other than that, it’s not actually a bad profile. You won’t learn anything new from it, but I think it captures the mood of a certain slice of the electorate pretty well.

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